Just over a year ago, I wrote a column that praised the New Mexico Republican Party for its efforts in fielding highly qualified Hispanic candidates. Well the article didn’t go over very well with many folks; I was chastised for not mentioning other GOP Hispanic candidates and for basing my argument on select tidbits of New Mexico political history.
All valid points, but the intention of my argument was merely to give the GOP credit for making a concerted improvement in reaching out to Hispanics both locally and nationally.
As the sayings go, the proof is in the pudding and results don’t lie. The 112th Congress has a record number of Hispanic Republicans including Senator Marco Rubio from Florida and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler from the State of Washington (Yes, I did say Washington). Of course our own Susana Martinez became the first female governor of New Mexico and Republican Brian Sandoval became the governor of Nevada.
But the trend doesn’t end with GOP Hispanic candidates. Improvements are being made with women and African-American Republican candidates as well. This isn’t to say that the GOP is outperforming the Democratic Party in these demographics, but the facts point to a marked improvement as we begin to shift to the 2012 election cycle.
How a Hispanic can be a Republican
Rather than bicker over the history and the numbers of elected officials, the biggest question to be answered is, why are Hispanics beginning to side with the Republican Party? This isn’t an argument that I enthusiastically bring forward; it is the Democrats who eagerly inject racial warfare into the political debate and argue that they don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage can be a Republican.
A Hispanic can be a Republican because we are very patriotic Americans who take great pride in working hard to provide for our families. The Hispanic community is naturally a faith-based, conservative culture with an overwhelming love and respect for the old-school, fundamental values that make America exceptionally great. We strongly believe in putting family first and family often.
Hispanics eagerly serve in our military and we proudly support veterans in our communities. We have a prestigious wartime military legacy, having earned over 40 Medals of Honor dating back to the Civil War.
Simply put, Hispanics have always answered our nation’s call to serve, and our current political fight to save America from the brink of economic ruin is no different. The fight against runaway government spending is today’s call to service, and the Hispanic community will not allow our country to lose the battle without joining those who lead from the front on this issue.
The distasteful Democratic rhetoric of class and racial warfare is an out-of-date argument that will not divide a community that has always proudly stood by the idea that we are all Americans. In fact, the 2010 election results prove the opposite; we will fight against those who attempt to divide our country through the ole’ Democratic playbook of economic class and racial warfare.
Self-sacrificing American values
Now make no mistake, I am not here to pronounce the GOP the new home for Hispanics, nor am I advocating voting for candidates simply based on race or ethnicity. My argument is that, overall, the GOP is doing better in putting forward highly qualified Hispanic candidates, and supporting any Republican based on the merit of the candidate is a viable option for all Hispanics to consider.
Hispanics can rid themselves of the guilt to blindly support Democrats solely on the idea of family tradition. My mother strongly believes that John F. Kennedy was the best president in American history, so who I am to argue? I embrace the JFK values of “a hand-up, not a hand-out” and “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Rest assured folks, the current Democratic Party resembles nothing close to those self-sacrificing American values that JFK promoted when your mother and father were growing up.
Luévano, a Renewed Republican, is a lifelong New Mexico resident and an Artesia native who will be moving back to Albuquerque this August. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2001 with a bachelor’s in political science and economics and from the University of Kansas in 2008 with a master’s in public administration. You can reach Luévano at johnnyluevano.com or find him on Facebook.